Professor Receives Grant to Research Christian Meaning-Making in the Context of Suffering

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities networking grant of $18,000 awarded to professor Liz Hall

Jan. 11, 2017 By Brianna Miller

Professor of psychology Liz Hall received the 2016 Council for Christian Colleges and Universities networking grant of $18,000 for her research on Christian meaning-making in the context of suffering.


Networking grants for Christian scholars were created by the CCCU to promote collaborative scholarship among faculty and CCCU members. Hall, a professor at Biola University’s Rosemead School of Psychology, along with her team, will research how people draw on their faith to understand their suffering and fit it into their overall life.


“While meaning-making is central to well-being in general, its importance is most clearly seen in the context of human suffering,” said Hall. “In general, versions of happiness based on the presence of pleasurable emotions versus based on a sense of having a meaningful life tend to be highly correlated. However, the presence of suffering appears to distinguish reliably between the two.”


The main hypothesis for the research is that different kinds of meaning-making — identifying meaning or purpose within an event — in response to suffering are related to various outcomes with respect to human flourishing. The project will examine how much people draw on their faith for meaning-making and what parts of their faith are utilized to bring about meaning-making in the midst of suffering. Hall and her team will develop and present their findings in various capacities including scholarly journals throughout the study, as early as this Spring. The three-year grant will end in 3 years concluding the study in the summer of 2019.


Hall’s team includes Jamie Aten, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College, Eric Silverman, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at Christopher Newport University, and Jason McMartin, associate professor of theology at Biola University.


Recipients of the CCCU networking grant must be full time faculty members at CCCU member institutions who have contributed research in an effort to advance Christian voices in academic conversations. The goal of the program is to advance high quality research within Christian academia.


For more information, please visit the Rosemead School of Psychology website.

Written by Brianna Miller, media relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations manager, at (562) 777-4061 or

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